Artificial Contraception

Discussion in 'The Commons' started by choerria, Apr 7, 2021 at 5:16 AM.

  1. choerria

    choerria New Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I am a high school student and for my Study of Religion assignment, we have to identify the views of two different Christian denominations on a contemporary issue. I have chosen Catholocism and Anglicanism and the issue of artificial contraception. Primary sources are required, thus, I am writing in this forum to find answers to a few questions:

    When does life begin?

    Is it intrinsically evil to use artificial contraceptives - such as condoms and birth control pills - to avoid conception? Are there any exceptions?

    Is the potential of life considered valuable to Anglicans? Are sperm considered valuable and should not be abstained from fertilizing with an egg?

    Do you think Anglican adherents have been significantly influenced by the Anglican Teachings regarding the use of artificial contraceptives?

    If you would like to add more information regarding the stance of the Anglican Church on the use of artificial contraception, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you to anyone who takes their time to answer these questions :)
     
  2. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Hi @choerria and welcome among us.

    There will inevitably be a breadth of views on these subjects.

    When does life begin?
    Human Life implies relationship. Some will view this established and the moment of conception, there the two gametes for a zygote. Some will see that at the moment of implantation where the sustaining relationship is established with the mother. Many are like to see it at the time of the quickening, following the thoughts of Aquinas on this subject, see this as the moment that individual identity is established. Others, few in number I would hope would want to argue for the moment of birth, a position my Bishop has been arguing of late.

    Is it intrinsically evil to use artificial contraceptives?
    Not of itself, and it may be somewhat dependent of the reason for using them.
     
  3. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Life begins at conception, obviously. But the right question is: when does human life begin. And here the traditional Christian answer (I mean for the last 2000 years) was not 'at conception' which is the current Roman Catholic view. You can go to Thomas Aquinas and others where you'll see them say, that human life begins at the moment of quickening, or ensoulement; or in short, at the moment when the human soul enters the body. That moment does not take place at conception, but several weeks later, approximately when the heart starts beating. Once the heart is 'on', then you know the human soul has entered the body, and the human life has started.

    So that's the traditional Anglican answer. And it's also the traditional Roman Catholic answer. However the modern RC answer (started by Piux IX and enshrined in Humanae Vitae of Paul VI) is that the human life starts at conception. And thus in today's context, the RC view and the Anglican view are different.

    It is not intrinsically evil, and was never considered as such in the history of the Church. You can find in the Patristic era, mentions of Christians who produced contraceptive potions.

    As long as you don't abort the human fetus (after quickening), there is no moral problem.

    That being said, contraception (and masturbation/sodomy, etc) is against natural law. So doing it is not an offense against God, but rather an offense against nature. That's why in the Anglican tradition you will find phrases like sodomy being called a crime against nature. And contraception fits in the same category.

    Yes because of natural law.

    The Anglican Church has been suffering from modernism, just as the RC church has. You will not find a lot of Anglican primates and archbishops who teach the traditional Anglican view, just like you won't find Pope Francis teaching Humanae Vitae. Thus what's considered 'Anglican Teaching' in modernist national churches around the Anglican Communion will be quite different and detrimental to truth and to life. And yes many Anglicans have been negatively affected by that teaching.

    On the other hand, all the traditional (or at least conservative) Anglican churches, especially like ACNA in the united states, have been exceptionally strong on pro-life questions. Contraception is still a bit of a third rail, so people are left to their own conclusions, but in questions of abortion ACNA is a big champion of pro-life causes, and you will find bishops participating in pro-life marches:
    https://anglicansforlife.org/
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021 at 1:29 PM
  4. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    Is it intrinsically evil to use artificial contraceptives - such as condoms and birth control pills - to avoid conception? Are there any exceptions?
    It is not intrinsically evil, and was never considered as such in the history of the Church. You can find in the Patristic era, mentions of Christians who produced contraceptive potions.

    As long as you don't abort the human fetus (after quickening), there is no moral problem.

    That being said, contraception (and masturbation/sodomy, etc) is against natural law. So doing it is not an offense against God, but rather an offense against nature. That's why in the Anglican tradition you will find phrases like sodomy being called a crime against nature. And contraception fits in the same category.

    In being against natural law would it also not reason that it is a moral problem.
     
  5. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I'm coming from the standpoint that everything which is moral is in the natural law, but not everything in natural law pertains to morals. For example taking care of your parents: that's a mandate of the natural law (and the 10 commandments), but it wouldn't fit the traditionally-defined boundaries of ethical/moral questions. To not take care of your parents is unnatural, which is a wider category than not being moral. Similarly with having children: to forego having children (as many do today) is deeply unnatural and completely violates all principles of natural law, but it's not exactly a moral problem in the doman of ethics.
     
  6. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    I see your point but in the domain of Christian ethics you are bound to take care of your parents in some way or you are sinning or am I missing something and blurring the lines on natural and moral.
     
  7. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Right, taking care of parents is a duty so maybe it does cross into ethics from the standpoint of the virtue of piety.

    But there are still some natural obligations which do not cross into ethics, like the natural obligation to have children which isn’t a principle of ethics.